A project announced by the Invest in France Agency on the collaboration of three French biotech clusters for the development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) today points to the promise of a non-controversial approach to stem cell therapies.
However, what struck me, in light of the announcement’s use of words like “unprecedented”, the collaboration of three separate clusters involving multiple companies and the French government, was the fact that the the project has a total budget of $6.5 million (including a paltry $3.1 million from the French government — really). It is always important, in evaluating developments in medical technology, to be able to gauge the impact in real terms. Therefore, it is rather easy to devalue some of this announcement’s superlatives when — in a leading edge, budget-intensive field like biotech’s pursuit of stem cell therapy — the budget is so inconsequential.
By developing the technology to create custom induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), that is, adult cells reprogrammed to a stem cell-like state, three French biotech clusters will be able to provide an unlimited, noncontroversial, supply of human cells. These cells will meet an unmatched standard of quality and ultimately speed up the process of therapeutic innovation, says an announcement from the Invest in France Agency.See link for more details.